Challenges with human capital management in the federal government have been well documented for years but “little change has taken place” says a report which said the underlying issue is that agencies lack the capacity to carry out the needed change.
The report, a collaboration between the Senior Executives Association and the Center for Organizational Excellence, said that the government “desperately needs” reforms in often-cited areas such as updating pay systems, performance management, closing skill gaps, training and hiring.
“Our government dedicates hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars each year compensating, preparing, and managing our federal workforce, far outpacing the private sector’s spend ratios on human capital management. Yet, there is little strategic capacity, top government leadership collaboration, or focus on the evolving needs of agencies and the workforce,” the SEA said.
It said that key issues include that: “despite being the world’s largest employer, federal HCM is inefficient, lacks credibility, is not investment- or future-oriented, and lacks a government-wide perspective;” “federal HCM is significantly more costly than the private-sector,” and suffers from “duplication, fragmentation, and inconsistency with little to no overall focus;” and “the budget, oversight, and management processes place significant strain on HCM.”
Recommendations include: forming a joint legislative branch-executive branch group to create a transformation plan, with OPM and OMB responsible for carrying it out with retraining of HR professionals; restructure OPM and give its director a five to eight year term to carry out long-term initiatives including streamlining personnel regulations; and expand hiring, pay, rewards and other flexibilities for employees.